Sustainability indicators should provide an inclusive picture of sustainable development strategy, which will allow the market to adopt more feasible sustainable development goals.

Verdict has conducted a poll to assess if public companies should use contemporary and objective frameworks to report sustainability indicators, at least annually, such as Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).Public companies should use contemporary and objective frameworks to report sustainability indicatorsAnalysis of the poll results shows that public companies should use them, as opined by a majority 74% of the respondents, whereas the remaining 26% opined otherwise.

The analysis is based on 425 responses received from the readers of Verdict, between 01 February and 22 March 2021.

Growing importance of sustainability reporting in public sector

Sustainability reporting adds accountability and transparency to the environmental auditing issues, which are intertwined with economic growth and ecological concerns.

The global pressure on governments to ramp up performance in all sectors has increased over time, especially in healthcare, defence, and education due to growing concerns about the impact of their products and services on the environment and society.

The reporting of sustainability development measures is more crucial in the public sector as they encompass broader aspects related to natural resource conservation, carbon emission levels, occupational health and safety, investor engagement, and stakeholder relations.

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In Malaysia, for example, the local stock exchange has driven a higher rate of inclusion of sustainability data in the annual reports of public companies. Similarly, TCFD reporting has become mandatory for public companies in the UK from 2021 onwards.

The companies prioritising environmental sustainability could generate business opportunities worth $10.42bn (€8.7bn), in addition to 395 million jobs, in the next decade, according to the World Economic Forum, which has further observed that investments with sustainability aspects are receiving higher returns than conventional assets.